Studio forms partnership with CodeBlack founder

Looking to expand its already strong urban biz, Lionsgate has formed a multi-year partnership with CodeBlack Enterprises founder Jeff Clanagan via a yet-to-be-named company.

Clanagan aims to produce two to three features per year. He’d been in discussions over the past three months with two other studios but opted for Lionsgate, citing its track record in handling African American-themed pics such as the Tyler Perry films, “Precious,” “Akeelah and the Bee” and “Civil Brand,” which Clanagan exec produced.

“Lionsgate has demonstrated a clear commitment to this market,” Clanagan added. “I’ve built my own business successfully over the past 12 years, but the partnership will enable me to expand exponentially.”

Clanagan pointed to the recent box office success of Screen Gems’ “Think Like a Man,” which has grossed $64 million domestically in less than two weeks, as an indicator that the urban audience is hungry for more.

Quincy Newell will serve as general manager of the new alliance and be based at Lionsgate’s HQ in Santa Monica.

CodeBlack worked on standup comedy specials for Steve Harvey, Cedric The Entertainer, Kevin Hart and Mo’Nique. Its theatrical releases included “Shadowboxer,” the directorial debut of Lee Daniels, and Hart’s documentary “Laugh at My Pain.”

Deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Ryan Likes and Marc Danon.

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